Zambian authorities have committed a major violation of their own constitution, and in disregard of due process enshrined in the legislative systems of UN members states, in the detainment of an in-transit private aircraft, its crew and its 8 passengers, says Antoine Vey, the founding lawyer of Vey & Associés (www.Vey-Associes.com). Vey says the 10 detained crew and passengers have been exposed to inhumane conditions for the last 72 hours with no access no legal counsel.
The aircraft was impounded at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka on August 14 while awaiting a take-off permit. Zambian authorities detained its passengers and confiscated cash and sophisticated mineral testing equipment that was on board and destined to the business activities of the plane’s lessee. This occurred while passengers on board were issuing SOS messages to airport and police authorities while a group of armed robbers were attempting to board the plane and threaten their safety. No charges have been made against anyone since the detention, says Vey.
The crew and passengers of the private San Remo registered aircraft that flew from Cairo, and landed for refueling and to pick up a prominent South African businessman on his way to Johannesburg. The businessman on board with his entourage and security detail, armed with fully licensed handguns, were forced physically to disembark, were deprived of their passports and placed under custody first at the airport and, later, at a police station inside Lusaka.
Since being placed in custody, Vey says the detainees have been subjected to inhumane treatment, denied of access to legal counsel and deprived of proper food, sleep, and basic sanitary conditions. Repeated demands for medical help by the ailing were left unheeded, he adds.
The contents of the aircraft, including the personal belongings of the passengers, have been seized with incomplete and doctored official records especially for cash, that fall short by very considerable amounts of what was actually on board, says Vey. Vey & Associates is engaging with Zambian authorities who are thus far releasing minimal information about the motives behind these detainments.
Antoine Vey said, “I have taken the decision to dispatch one of my office’s senior human rights counsels to document and monitor the various violations of domestic and international law being committed in Zambia, as well as the risks faced by international businesses seeking to do business in “The Continent of The Future”. The man has just landed in Lusaka.”
Vey added: “We demand the immediate release of the detainees to proper living conditions in an hotel pending the completion of the so-called investigation within a maximum of 48 hours, to be followed by unconditional approval for the aircraft and its passengers, with all their confiscated belongings, to depart Kenneth Kaunda International Airport after receiving the adequate apologies for the gross mistreatment they have received for no fault of their own. The international community at large, and the African Union in particular, are called upon to closely monitor the developments of this matter over the coming few days.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Vey & Associés.